The happiness advantage from practicing gratitude.
There is something called the Tetris Effect (yes, named after the video game) that occurs when we consistently devote our time and attention to something, and then we start seeing that thing over and over again. You’ve experienced this if you’ve ever been shopping for a car. Maybe you’ve decided that you’re going to get a red vehicle, then suddenly you see red vehicles everywhere you go. What happened? Did everybody else have the same idea as you and beat you to the punch?
The answer is no; because of the time and attention you’ve focused on that attribute, your brain is now primed to be looking for those things, even at the subconscious level, and you’re suddenly spotting them everywhere So, what does all this have to do with happiness and gratitude? In its default state your brain is hardwired to constantly be looking for threats to your survival, and will constantly be doing so unless you prime it to do otherwise.
Happiness is at the peak of psychological health.
When our brains get stuck in a pattern that focuses on stress, negativity, and failure (as is our default) we set ourselves up to fail. The positive side of the Tetris Effect, though, actually teaches us how to retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility, so we can see—and seize—opportunity wherever we look. The way we can do this is by taking time to intentionally train our brains to start scanning the world for good things everyday. And the most amazing part? It only takes a couple of minutes each day to train our brains to do this!
WHY IT MATTERS
One of the best ways to kick start a positive Tetris Effect is to simply take time each day to write down 3 things you’re grateful for. In this two-minute span, if you continue this for 30 days in a row, research has shown benefits like:
- 31% increase in productivity and creativity;
- Stronger immune system and less sick days;
- Reduction in blood pressure;
- Improved cardiovascular health;
- Reduction in perceived stress and pain; and
- Enhanced mood and mental wellbeing!
Practice gratitude daily.
Rewire your brain in just 2 minutes per day with this gratitude exercise to become happier, healthier, and more efficient in all of your tasks. Each day write down 3 things you’re grateful for. They don’t have to be profound – it could be a good cup of coffee, the warmth of a sunny day, or listening to your favorite song. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you write it down somewhere, whether in a notebook, on a napkin, or typed into your phone.
“We’re finding it’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational l and business outcome at the same time.” – Shawn Achor, happiness expert, international best-selling author, & Harvard professor